Weezer arrived in Albany on Thursday, March 14 with a full tank of gas and a show that will make you remember why you sang along to all these songs in college. Of course, Weezer is still cranking out new material, with The Black Album released earlier this month, and an album of covers in The Teal Album. Combine this with all the classic Weezer you could possibly ask for and impressive stage production that traces the evolution of the band, from the early days in the garage to the arena rock they unleashed tonight, and you have the makings of a fantastic performance from Rivers Cuomo and company.
Kicking off the set with a barbershop quartet version of “Buddy Holly” in front of the draped stage, “My Name is Jonas” started the set proper with a Happy Days themed high school stage setup revealed. Pinkerton’s “Pink Triangle” followed for a taste of early Weezer to please the eager crowd of Gen-X-ers. The first of five covers, Weezer’s take on “Africa” by Toto, might be the only time you sing this 80s hit with thousands of others, without a hint of shame. During the intro for “The Sweater Song,” the stage morphed into a garage setup, which served well for the next sequence of songs: “Pork and Beans” (featuring a VHS tape recording of early Weezer antics), The Turtles “Happy Together” with a segment of Green Day’s “Longview” seamlessly worked in, the apropos “In the Garage,” “Buddy Holly” and the debut of The Black Album’s “High as a Kite.”
As the stage underwent its final transformation, Rivers Cuomo hopped in a boat-on-wheels that brought him to the opposite end of the arena, where he serenaded the crowd with acoustic versions of “El Scorcho” and “No Scrubs.” As he was wheeled back around the arena towards the stage, a darkened stage welcomed Cuomo back for Jane’s Addiction’s “Up the Beach” and sing-alongs of “Beverly Hills” and “Island in the Sun.” To close the set, a-ha’s “Take on Me,” “Perfect Situation” and “Hash Pipe” closed the set, the latter with flames shooting up around the stage. For the encore, Weezer gave a sampling of songs from mid 00’s ((“If You’re Wondering if I Want you to) I Want you to”), and the 90’s (“Surf Wax America” and “Say it Ain’t So”) for a career spanning performance of nearly two dozen songs over 90 minutes.
Weezer setlist: Buddy Holly*, My Name is Jonas, Pink Triangle, Africa, You Give Your Love to me Softly, Undone – The Sweater Song, Pork and Beans, Happy Together->Longview->Happy Together, In the Garage, Buddy Holly, High as a Kite, El Scorcho^, No Scrubs^, Up the Beach, Beverly Hills, Island in the Sun, Take on Me, Perfect Situation, Hash Pipe
Encore: (If You’re Wondering if I want you to) I want you to, Surf Wax America, Say it Ain’t So
*Barbershop quartet version ^Rivers solo acoustic
UK rockers Basement kicked off the night with a short set of generic rock anthems with a stark 90s influence. The band, particularly animated lead singer Andrew Fisher, all had great energy to start the night but the sound fell flat on a limited crowd, still making their way into the Times Union Center.
Pixies followed with Paz Lenchantin subbing for Kim Deal and her voice and presence were well suited for a band well into their fourth decade. Guitarist Joey Santiago nailed riffs throughout the 22 song set with Black Francis leading the way. The Pixies brought out deep cuts as well as familiar songs (thanks in part to ad placements) including “Gigantic,” “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and the classic “Where is my Mind?” At times it felt like Pixies would be better suited to a setting like The Palace, or even The Egg. They made a great pairing with Weezer, but an intimate evening with Pixies would be a true treat for fans who grew up on this incredibly influential group.
Pixies setlist: Gouge Away, Vamos, Crackity Jones, Gigantic, Wave of Mutilation, Death Horizon, Here Comes Your Man, Tame, Rock Music, Monkey Gone to Heaven, Classic Masher, No. 13 Baby, Caribou, Planet of Sound, Hey, Broken Face, Bone Machine, Cactus, Debaser, In the Witching Hour, Something Against You, Where is My Mind?